Networking means collaboration, trust, commitment, complementary skills, shared and mutual interests. Nothing is possible without ‘networking’; either to achieve customers, create a team, a net of suppliers or open the doors to our organisational and professional goals. But networking is not the race that it seems to be for many people nowadays; at least, if we attend to the number of contacts these people pursue, particularly after the irruption of social media. Maybe because it has caused the false appearance that it is already achievable for everyone to build a great network.
Our professional contacts are not like subscribers or followers of our blog or comments and ‘likes’ on our wall on internet. This is only a number, at most, relevant as expression of our potential influence. Networking means mutual discovering and discovering requires time, attention, patience, going to appropriate ‘platforms’. That is, developing relationships both on a virtual and face to face basis.
To create a good network we must combine profiles attending to factors such as affinity, values, interests, skills, contacts, knowledge, experiences; and in turn, it also involves enriching those profiles with our curiosity, availability, inspiration and recognition. This is the only way to attract and retain valuable people for our ventures. Surely, something much more achievable today than just a few years ago thanks to the new technologies, but equally challenging and laborious.
If you really see relationships as the core of your marketing activity or key for your professional development, the first requirement is to focus a great deal of your time and energy on it.